- Weeks after the Church of England approved the blessing of same-sex unions, a worldwide group of conservative Anglican archbishops announced in a letter Monday that they no longer recognized the Archbishop of Canterbury as the leader of the Anglican Communion.
- If more churches sign onto the letter, it could place the Anglican Communion, the worldwide federation of Anglican churches, in danger of collapse, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- “We pray that our withdrawal of support for [the Archbishop of Canterbury] to lead the whole Communion is received by him as an admonishment in love,” the conservative archbishops wrote.
A dozen conservative Anglican archbishops from various global churches announced that they no longer recognized the Archbishop of Canterbury as the leader of the Anglican Communion Monday, weeks after the Church of England approved the blessing of same-sex unions.
The decision to bless such unions, made earlier February, meant that the Church of England “had chosen to break communion” with foreign churches that “remain faithful to the historic biblical faith,” a group of archbishops from the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) said in a press statement. The 12 archbishops who signed the letter, which included representatives from Africa, South America and North America, also declared that they no longer recognized the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Honourable and Most Reverend Justin Welby, as “the first among equals” and leader of the global Anglican Communion. (RELATED: Church Of England Toys With Idea Of They/Them God)
“[Welby] has sadly led his House of Bishops to make the recommendations that undergirded the General Synod Motion on ‘Living in Love & Faith,’ knowing that they run contrary to the faith & order of the orthodox provinces in the Communion whose people constitute the majority in the global flock,” the archbishops wrote. “We pray that our withdrawal of support for him to lead the whole Communion is received by him as an admonishment in love.”
Looks like the Archbishop of Canterbury has got the schism he badly wanted to avoid by recommending minimalist moves towards treating LGBT Anglicans equally. Time to end the post colonial pretence, let the homophobic provinces go & focus on the @churchofengland’s job here. https://t.co/LHUuqvvOGs
— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) February 20, 2023
Welby has spent the majority of his 10-year tenure trying to quell disagreements between conservative and progressive factions within the Anglican Church over homosexuality and queerness, The Wall Street Journal reported. Some progressive advocates, including the Rev. Andrew Foreshew-Cain, an Anglican chaplain for a church at the University of Oxford who is in a same-sex marriage, have argued that the Church of England ought to cut ties with foreign churches and focus on “full affirmation and welcome for LGBTI people.”
“The deep disagreements that exist across the Anglican Communion on sexuality and marriage are not new,” a spokesperson for the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The 42 member Churches of the Anglican Communion are independent and autonomous, but at the same time interdependent. It is a fundamental principle of the Anglican Communion that no province can bind another province, and no Instrument of Communion has any jurisdictional authority over any province.”
The Church of England’s recent decision to approve blessings for same-sex marriages upset members of both conservative and progressive factions, with the progressive factions expressing frustration that the church stopped short of approving same-sex marriage, the U.K.-based Telegraph reported.
If more churches sign onto the GSFA statement, it could place the Anglican Communion, the worldwide federation of Anglican churches, in danger of collapse, the WSJ reported. Welby stated earlier in February that he would be willing to step down from his leadership role in the Communion if his views caused him to lose the confidence of the global community.
While he read the GSFA statement with “sadness,” the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Right Reverend Anthony Poggo, said he appreciated “its frankness and candour,” in a statement shared with the DCNF. He noted that the group’s belief that “the proper place for sexual intimacy is within marriage, and that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman” was “held by the vast majority of Anglicans around the world.”
The GSFA did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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